On Monday, there was a Giants and Nationals in San Francisco that started when Hunter Strickland plunked Bryce Harper with a first-pitch fastball. It certainly looked intentional. Why would it be? Let's check out the history between the two.between the
The first time they faced each other, this happened in the 2014 NLDS:
Quite a blast. It should be noted that it only cut the Nationals deficit to 3-1 and the Giants still won that game. After the game, Strickland insisted that he would continue to throw Harper fastballs, as if to say "I'm not afraid of the guy."
Next time up, same series:
So Harper stood in the box for a long time there, but the ball was right down the line, so one could argue he was seeing if it would stay fair or not. It's a reasonable thought. Of course, between first and second, Harper is pretty clearly glaring at Strickland.
From the above clips, one might be able to make the case that Strickland didn't care for Harper's styling of the home runs and particularly hated the stare-down. At the time, there were shots of the dugout where Harper was still yelling in Strickland's direction.
Then there's this: Remember in the spring of 2016 when Harper said the unwritten rules in baseball are "tired" because so many players get angry if a player attempts to express himself, seemingly talking about after hitting a home run?
Via the San Francisco Chronicle, here's Strickland responding to Harper:
"I don't think it's my place to go against the rules," Strickland said. "It's America's pastime for a reason. There's a history to the game. I don't think it's my place to judge the rules."
Then we get this on Monday, which was the first time the two had faced each other since that blast into the bay in the 2014 NLDS:
After the game, Strickland told reporters that he was just trying to throw inside, but I think we all know what we just saw. This is very clearly a situation where these two guys don't like each other and Strickland has probably been wanting it to happen since 2014.